At 37 weeks, it is easy for me to say that I am really enjoying my pregnancy. It seems like everything is going well. Baby boy is around 6 lbs and he is head down. My blood pressure is amazing and my sugar is staying on track. My back pain is almost completely eliminated thanks to an amazing massage therapist and an amazing chiropractor. Sure, I feel like I have run a 10 K when I walk down the street, but I am feeling good.
That led me to this week’s blog. Throughout my pregnancy, I have had a lot thrown at me and tried to stay as positive as possible. I shared a lot of difficult moments with you, but I feel like it is also time to look at the many positive moments throughout pregnancy – moments that I didn’t expect.
I could go into labour any minute now (although my induction is planned for Feb. 16th). This may be my last blog before I write about having a baby. Only baby boy knows when he will make his appearance. That’s why I wanted to share this now – five valuable lessons I learned during pregnancy.
- You Will Connect with People you Haven’t Talked to in Ages
My sister J was over visiting and said “it is amazing who you are talking to. You are really talking to everyone you have ever met. What are you going to do when you go back to work full-time and don’t have all of the time for these conversations?”
She is so right.
With this blog and in being pregnant, I have been able to connect with so many friends. People from various parts of my life – childhood, high school, university, adulthood. There were some relationships that were even repaired during pregnancy. People reached out when they heard what I was doing and we talked about things that had happened in the past and how we had really grown from those experiences.
Women were in my corner and people I hadn’t spoken to in years were sending me messages suggesting what products to buy, books to read, how to prepare for delivery, etc. I have loved every single second of it.
They say that when things get tough you need to look and see who was there along the way. I haven’t been at my best during my pregnancy. Between being MIA from work, socializing, etc., I haven’t been able to give even half of what I was able to give before. I’ve also had a lot of issues with anxiety and my hormones have been all over the place.
It has been amazing to see who really comes out during the dark periods. Yes, I knew that some people were my friends but I had no idea how much certain people would step up for me during this pregnancy. That being said, I have also been surprised and saddened that some of my friendships have also changed.
- Your May Start to Love Your Body
I have almost always been uncomfortable in my body. The negative self-talk that has gone through my head about my body is just so sad and all time-consuming.
For the past several years, I have tried to take up as little space as possible. As I walked by people on the street, I would draw my body inwards so that people could walk by. I would try my best to suck in my stomach and was mortified if I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in years because I was afraid they’d make fun of how much weight I had put on.
In being pregnant, I have really started to love my body.
I didn’t even know it was possible. It sounds so cliche but it is absolutely amazing at what my body can do. I am proud to walk down the street now and hope that I run into people I haven’t seen in a long time. I love my pregnancy clothes and all of the dresses that hug my body (I only wore flowy fabrics before pregnancy). When I look into the mirror now, I am smiling and it feels freakin awesome.
My hope is that my feelings toward my body stay this way after giving birth. I am aware that my body is going to change again and that it will take some time to go back to what it once was. Right now, I feel okay with that. My body has given me so much and I feel like I owe it some time to adjust to pre-pregnancy.
- You Will Want to be Healthy
This somewhat goes along with the point I just made about seeing my body in a beautiful way right now.
My chiropractor and I were having a conversation the other day and she commented on how she thought I had lost a lot of weight.
“You arms and legs are so much smaller and your weight is all in your belly” she said.
“It’s because I really care about my body right now” I said.
“But why wouldn’t you have cared about yourself and your body before?”
“It is so sad” I said. “When it was just me I didn’t care as much. Maybe it was because I didn’t think I was worthy of taking care of myself. Now that I have another person in my body, I want to do what is best for him.”
She talked about how her mother was the exact same way and how she stopped smoking during pregnancy. The family had tried for years to get her to stop smoking and she had even tried to stop smoking prior to her pregnancy. It wasn’t until she was responsible for another human being that she stopped smoking entirely.
“Will you feel the same after the baby is born?” she asked.
“Yes” I said. “I am the only parent for this baby and I need to make sure that I am healthy.”
It’s really sad when you think about it – some women just don’t feel as though they matter enough to really take care of their health. There were times where I felt like I mattered and in those times I ate well and exercised. However, I would always go back to binge eating.
Since my diagnosis of gestational diabetes, I have not eaten because of stress, sadness, loneliness, etc. I have learned to eat when I am hungry (because after months of training, I can tell when my body is hungry for the FIRST time). When I go for a snack, I have to decide if it will fill me up because I know it will be two hours until I can eat again. I’m starting to make the shift that food is fuel and that food is not just a comfort.
I am also a little scared that after delivering the baby, I will no longer need to take my blood sugar. I won’t have people checking my numbers on a weekly basis. It feels that right now I am on a bike with training wheels and after the baby is born, the training wheels will be taken off. It is my responsibility to continue to stay as healthy as possible.
- You May Have a Desire to Apologize
When I got divorced, my other friends in my friend group were having babies. Being married and having babies were a trigger for me and I felt as though I needed to find people around me that weren’t at this stage.
I was selfish to my friends but I honestly didn’t know that I was being selfish at the time.
I’ll always remember going over to a friend’s house after she just had a baby. I brought food over and stayed for about 2-3 hours. She had just had a baby a couple days prior to that and I didn’t understand that I needed to leave and give her space. I thought I was giving her the best gift of all – food and company.
That is not what she wanted or needed at the time. When she seemed a little anxious, I became somewhat angry because I had gone out of my way to do something for her. Why couldn’t she appreciate my kindness?
Since that interaction and in being pregnant, I messaged my friend and apologized. I explained that I had no idea that a new Mom needed space and that it would have been better to just give her a gift card for food or if I just dropped off the food on her doorstep.
People say that you don’t get it until you are in it and that is so true.
She said she knew that I wasn’t coming from a negative place and that she knew I thought I was helping. She even confessed that she had sent emails to friends during pregnancy/motherhood apologizing for some of her actions as well.
During this time, I also wanted to hang out with my friends without their kids. Sure I loved their kids and wanted to see them at times but I longed for those adult times where we laughed and shared a bottle of wine. I was grieving the friendships (pre-pregnancy) and didn’t fully realize that friendships do change. Life changes.
A friend once said to me that friendships are for a “season, a reason, or a lifetime.” As I have reconnected with a lot of friends from the past, it is amazing to me how many of my friendships will really last a lifetime.
As a single Mom, I have also realized that my days of going to events and drinking bottles of wine may not exist/may be on hold for a LONG time. I don’t have a partner to depend on or a partner to take my child when I just want to sit with my friends. Things are different now and I just wish I could have been a better friend to my friends with kids years ago.
- You May Learn to Slow the F Down
People around me know that I don’t really have a tendency to stop. After work, I would always have some sort of plan. I was a “yes” woman and I loved it. You want to go out tonight – sure. You have tickets to something and want me to be your date – of course. You want to order more wine – yes!
I also tried to keep as busy as possible with work as well. In the fifteen years of teaching that I had done, I taught summer school for fourteen sessions. A new course? I would create it from scratch. Sure I was burnt out but I kept going.
Being busy meant that I didn’t have to deal with me. I could focus on other things and other people so that I couldn’t see how I really felt about myself. There were so many times I didn’t want to be alone with myself and I could always depend on others to take me away from myself.
Until I got sick during my pregnancy.
I had to sit still. Hell, I was forced to sit on a couch or to stay in bed for most of my pregnancy. If I moved I would get physically sick.
The universe was teaching me a lesson.
There were some things that I could use to distract myself – Netflix, going on a walk, social media, appointments etc., but those things didn’t last too long. I was forced to be on my own and to learn how to be content with my own company.
Sometimes it has been really hard – especially right now. I don’t have any energy and since I get my energy from outside sources, it has been really hard. People also don’t want me driving anywhere at 37 weeks pregnant so I can’t even escape my location.
There is also no other person coming home at 6:00 p.m. to keep me company or to ask me how my day has gone. I’ve had to be my own partner and friend.
What a lesson!
Being by yourself may feel like a blessing but it is a blessing when you have a choice to do that. When you don’t have a choice, it may feel really uncomfortable.
Yet, I have done it. I feel more relaxed than I have ever felt in my life. Tension has left my body and my constant headaches, being hungover, and feeling unhealthy has gone away.
This is what it feels like to be at peace.
Please know that I am fully aware that I am about to be completely busy in a couple weeks (hello new baby). Yet, I have soaked up all of this alone time and have learned a lot from this experience.
When this baby is born, I have a huge feeling I am only going to remember the good parts of being pregnant. My memory has always been that way. Every September I always say to my sister, that I “forgot how tiring teaching can be.” Every year she reminds me that I have said the same thing the previous year. Somehow we forget about the bad and focus on the good.
Once I meet this little one, I may miss these days when I could get up at noon and watch a variety of reality shows. I won’t remember all of the anxiety and sickness that came along with this pregnancy.
I am just really grateful. Not only do I get to have a baby boy, but I have also learned so much along the way.
Thank you for being there with me. Thank you for reading this blog which has been my sounding board along the way. It’s been quite an emotional experience and I can’t believe I am writing such a positive blog after having written about so many tough situations during pregnancy.
There have been so many ups and downs and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world. Every single experience led me here and I have never learned so much about people, friendships, my body, family relationships, mental health, etc.
Wishing everyone an amazing week!